20 May 2014
Webber leads tributes to Sir Jack Brabham
Tributes continue to pour in for three-time F1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham, following his passing on Monday.
The motorsport world continues to pay its respects to Sir Jack Brabham, who died on Monday at the age of 88.
From individuals from all levels of the sport to the organisations, venues and events he graced during his full life, tributes have been paid to Brabham from all corners of the globe, led by Australia's current motorsport frontrunner.
“I was saddened to hear the news of Jack's passing – he is the epitome of a champion racing driver and a true blue Aussie,” Mark Webber wrote on his personal website, “He was a trailblazer; he took the hardest road and made it easier for the rest of us to follow. When I think of Jack, I think of a tenacious individual; an absolute grafter; he did it his own way and made it stick. There were no real rules or a manual for Jack; he figured it for himself. What he achieved taking on the best in the world and winning one of his three world titles in his own machinery is the stuff of pure legends.”
Admitting that 'Jack was simply the biggest name in the Webber household', the former F1 and current Porsche WEC star went on to reveal the part Brabham had played in his own career.
“I was very fortunate that I was introduced to Jack before I left Australia and to be in his presence as a 17 or 18-year old, as I must have been at the time, just blew me away,” he reflected, “He provided me with endless support and advice over the years and became a close confidante - even right up until the last couple of years when, after hearing the rumours that I might move to Ferrari, he told me he would be very disappointed if I went there because for him, it was the absolute betrayal because they were his motivation – the ones he wanted to beat in his day!”
The US-based IMSA organisation issued its own statement on Brabham's passing, recalling one of the Australian's most memorable moments, as well as the lasting legacy he has in international motorsport.
“On behalf of the entire International Motor Sports Association community, I want to offer sincere condolences to the family of Sir Jack Brabham, a global motorsports icon and innovator, who passed away yesterday,” president and COO Scott Atherton noted, “He was a unique personality who had success across nearly all aspects of the motorsports industry.
“While all three of his sons, Geoff, Gary and David, achieved success in different eras of IMSA sports car competition, one of Jack's most notable achievements has to be when he pushed his broken race car across the finish line at the 1959 US Grand Prix at Sebring to record a fourth-place finish that confirmed him as world champion. He was one of the giants of our industry and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Brabham family at this difficult time.”
Similarly, the Goodwood estate in the UK paid its own tribute to a man who had graced both its Festival of Speed and Revival events decades after racing there for real.
“It was with great sadness and regret that Goodwood learned of the passing of three-time F1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham on Monday,” a statement confirmed, Brabham first forged links with the Sussex circuit following the decision to move from Australia to England to further his racing career and he raced there regularly between his 1955 debut and the point at which competition ceased in 1966, finishing third – behind Jim Clark and Graham Hill – in the last F1 race held there in 1965.
Goodwood was also central to Brabham's return to racing in 1998, and he attended the Revival six times, racing several times during the event's early years, including taking fifth place – and second among the rear-engined F1 cars – in the Richmond and Gordon Trophy race of 1999 in a Cooper T53-Climax - at the age of 73. He also drove at eight Festivals of Speed, entertaining huge crowds with display runs in everything from a Brabham BT12 Indy car to an AC Cobra Le Mans Coupe.
“Sir Jack Brabham was one of the world's greats and I remember very well him racing at Goodwood in the 1960s,” Lord March said, “He played a very important part in Goodwood's history. More recently, he and Margaret regularly supported the Festival of Speed and Revival – it was wonderful to see him behind the wheel again driving many of the cars which he made so famous. All at Goodwood extend our sympathy to Margaret and the family at this very sad time.”
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